Thursday, January 31, 2008

"The Helmsman's Logs - 2374" - 2/2



STARDATE 51463.14:

The Doctor is back, thank God! This means Harry and I don't have to continue our disastrous efforts to create a new EMH. During his time in the Alpha Quadrant, the Doc managed to contact Starfleet. (Pauses) I don't know if that's something to celebrate about, but everyone else seemed to be happy. Especially the Captain and Harry. Starfleet had declared us dead about six months following our disappearance. Now, they know we're alive. Huh. I wonder how Dad took the news.

The Doc had other news, as well. Apparently, a war had broken out in the Alpha Quadrant. The Federation, along with the Klingon Empire have been at war with a Gamma Quadrant race called the Dominion and their allies, the Cardassians, since the end of last year. Also, upon his arrival in the Alpha Quadrant, he had came upon a Starfleet vessel that had been taken over by the Romulans. It seemed the Doc and a new EMH program managed to keep the ship from ending up in Romulan space. I don't want to go into details - especially since the Doc never hesitates to talk about it. Over and over again.

As for the array, it seemed to belong to a race called the Hirogen. Seven, B'Elanna and the Captain had brief contact with one of them, before Seven zapped him into oblivion with a feedback from the array's transmitter. Hmmm, that's the first time B'Elanna has ever expressed any approval toward Seven's actions. End personal log.

STARDATE 51468.06:

It's a miracle that B'Elanna didn't kill me, a few minutes ago. We were supposed to meet for breakfast, around 0700, this morning. Unfortunately, I overslept - thanks to one hell of a nightmare - and she had to wake me up. Since our breakfast turned out to be a bust, we had arranged a new one for Friday night - the Fiji Islands in Holodeck One. The water skiing should be great. End personal log.

STARDATE 51472.83:

Damn aliens! Hell, I don't the name of their species, so I don't what else to call them. Why are we always encountering these aliens who use subtle means to take over the ship? The Bothans, the Nyrians, those aliens who had used us for their . . . medical experiments. And now, this! This waking species or whatever the hell they're called. Thank God for Chakotay! It seems they were the ones responsible for the series of nightmares that the entire crew were experiencing. Fortunately, Chakotay and the Doctor had discovered their homeworld and threatened to blow it up if they didn't shut off the neurogenic field that kept the rest of the crew in a state of lucid dreaming.

Now, I can't sleep. The whole damn episode has left me suffering from insomnia. I wonder if Harry or B'Elanna are awake. End personal log.

STARDATE 51480.04:

I never thought I would see myself giving lessons in Earth slang to a Vulcan. And to Vorik, of all people! I was talking to Liz Jenkins about her recent shuttle lessons, and Vorik had overheard me use the word - cool. The next thing I knew, I found myself explaining the different variations on the word. Oh well, at least Vorik was a willing student. I think he learned his lessons, well. End personal log.

STARDATE 51483.74:

Ah Fiji! B'Elanna was right to choose this program for our date. Granted, I had looked forward to skiing in the Chilean Andes, but water skiing in the South Pacific made a pretty good substitute. Along with B'Elanna in a red bikini. Wow! Let's just say it was a date I will never forget. End personal log.

STARDATE 51498.93:

Voyager had picked up a signal from another one of those Hirogen relay stations. This signal definitely had a Starfleet signature. Harry quickly assumed that Starfleet had found a quick way to get back to the Alpha Quadrant. Even Tuvok seemed to think so. (Sighs) God, I hope they're all wrong. End personal log.

STARDATE 51506.33:

Today has been one of the worst days of my life. In fact, I believe that it has been a bitch for a good number of the crew. And all because of that damn relay station!

We finally came across the station that Harry had detected, two days ago. Apparently, this station was situated near the mouth of a quantum singularity that provided energy to all of the relay stations. The Starfleet signal was actually a series of letters from home. From families and friends of the crew. I heard rumors that Tuvok learned that he had become a grandfather. And Liz Jenkins, one of the pilots under my command, is now an aunt. Harry received a letter from his folks, thank God! He was getting on my nerves with his constant carping about not receiving a letter, during Neelix's rounds. (Sighs) That's not fair. Poor Harry really misses his family a lot. And this trip through the Delta Quadrant has been particularly difficult for him.

But not all of the news was good. Someone told me . . . Neelix, I think . . . that the Captain had received a "Dear John" letter from her fiancé. He had given her up for dead, met someone else and married her. Talk about life being a bitch! No wonder the Captain looked miserable when I saw her reading her letter. And poor Greg Hamilton! He just received word that a cousin of his had become an early casualty in this war against some Gamma Quadrant species called the Dominion. Greg was supposed to be at the helm during the Beta shift, tonight. I decided to replace him with Baytart, instead.

Speaking of the Dominion, it seems they are now the Cardassians' new allies. And the latter used new ships and weapons from the Dominion . . . God, I can't believe this! The Cardies had managed to wipe out the Maquis resistance in the Alpha Quadrant. Talk about bad news. I'm still in shock. Most of them are dead. However, a few of them - like Chakotay's friend, Sveda, are now serving time in a Federation prison. And they are the lucky ones. (Pauses) I discovered this piece of bad news from B'Elanna. (Pauses) While she was downloading a letter from my dad. Talk about bad news arriving in pairs! (Pauses) Yeah, I know it's supposed to come in threes, but who cares?

(Sighs) Maybe this party will help everyone get over the recent bad news. We've also heard about Tuvok and Seven's encounter with a race called the Hirogen. They're the ones who had built the relay stations nearly a millennium ago. From our recent encounter with them, they might prove to be a problem. Many of the crew are also disappointed that the quantum singularity had also destroyed the entire relay system, ending our contact with Starfleet. I hope the party will help B'Elanna recover from the bad news. She had taken the news of the Maquis' destruction pretty hard. As for that letter from the Admiral - it never came through. B'Elanna was able to download Harry's letter before the relay stations' destruction, but not mine. (Sighs) Just as well. A small part of me felt a little disappointed not to hear from Dad. But another part . . . maybe I'm just not ready to hear from him. At least not yet. I don't know. End personal log.

STARDATE 51506.33:

I wish I could say that Neelix's party was a success, but I can't. A lot of us were still in a funk over the news from the Alpha Quadrant. There were a few happy souls like Harry, who had received good news from home. But even their happiness were muted by the destruction of the Hirogen's relay stations. And the fact that the Federation and the Klingon Empire were now at war against the Cardassians and their new allies.

Many of the former Maquis crewmen seemed to be walking around in a daze or in a state of rage. Ken Dalby got pretty drunk and had to be sent back to his quarters. The Captain seemed disoriented. Distracted, is the better word. I guess the rumors about her "Dear John" letter were true. Oh yeah. It has been confirmed that Tuvok is a grandfather, thanks to his oldest son. He didn't seem particularly happy or sad about the occasion. Just being his usual Vulcan self. Or maybe he was concerned about the Hirogen. I don't know.

B'Elanna and I had decided to leave the party early and return to her quarters. Frankly, the whole thing was just too damn depressing. (Pauses) We made love that night, but it . . . I don't know. It just seemed too rough for me. Yeah, we had rough sex before, but I think we were simply using each other to escape our bad moods. And now . . . (Sighs) I feel like some kind of sexual pervert. End personal log.

STARDATE 51569.13:

Ninety minutes! It took me ninety minutes to hunt down a mouse inside Jeffries Tube 32. Which happens to be near B'Elanna's quarters. I think we may have picked up the mouse from the Aldorni Homeworld, where we had stopped for supplies. (Sighs) Who would have thought that a brave and fearless half-Klingon be afraid of a mouse? End personal log.

STARDATE 51604.07:

(Sighs) What a bizarre day this has been! Hamilton went slightly beserk during flight training inside Holodeck Two, today. It seems he got a little carried away with destroying the enemy - namely a holographic Cardassian ship. I had ordered Baytart to take his place at the Helm and Hamilton suddenly became violent. He raved about Voyager being stuck in the Delta Quadrant, while the Federation was busy fighting Cardassians, back home. I thought Henley would joined in - especially since she was an ex-Maquis. But she refrained herself. In the end, I ordered Hamilton to get a hold of himself and leave the Holodeck. He then attacked me, but I managed to knock him out, cold. I had Segasse and Lin carry him back to his quarters. Although I had informed the Captain of the incident, I asked her not to put him on report. She immediately understood that Hamilton was grieving over a relative and agreed. After all, there was no need for him to endure further suffering. End personal log.

STARDATE 51625.59:

Voyager has lost another crewman, today. Ensign Lyndsay Ballard. Apparently, she and Harry were on an Away mission, when their shuttle was attacked by a Hirogen scout ship. Harry managed to get the shuttle away, but not before the Hirogen fired a few shot, severely injuring Ballard in the process. Poor Harry. Not only was she the second crewman to die while on an Away mission with him - the victim happened to be an old Academy friend of his. . . . and a former crush. B'Elanna is also a little shaken over Ballard's death, since the latter had served under her. I had planned to console them both, tonight, but I could see that neither of them was in the mood for company. End personal log.

STARDATE 51653.35:

God, I'm tired! And to think we have more hours of repairs to deal with, thanks to the Hirogen and Species 8472.

Species 8472. Christ! I thought all of them had returned back to fluidic space, after their war with the Borg. But a hunting party of Hirogen came across one who had failed to return home in time. They wounded him . . . it, but apparently not enough. Species 8472 defended itself against the Hirogen crew and nearly killed all of them - except one. Voyager rescued the remaining Hirogen hunter, while Species 8472 made its way aboard ship. Deck Eleven. Engineering. It attacked B'Elanna . . . and three other crewmen. Yet, it didn't kill anyone and B'Elanna and the others were not seriously injured. The Captain allowed our Hirogen guest to join a hunting party for our latest intruder.

So there I was, inside an AVS suite, stalking Species 8472 on Deck Eleven with Chakotay and the Hirogen Alpha. My two companions got into a tetesterone match over who was the superior hunter. I don't think my exploits as a mouse hunter went over well with either man. When we finally found Species 8472, the Hirogen tried to kill it. Chakotay tried to stop him and was attacked. The son-of-a-bitch also shot me. Fortunately, Tuvok got him.

The Captain finally agreed to help Species 8472 to avoid the Hirogen and return home. But Seven had other ideas. So did the other Hirogen ships that suddenly reappeared. They had really inflicted damage on the ship, including both nacelles and the EPS system. Seven then beamed both our Hirogen guest and Species 8472 to one of the other Hirogen ships and we were no longer in danger. A lot of us realized that Seven had saved our lives, but she also condemned that creature to death. Right now, the majority of the crew is pissed. Including the Captain.

As for me - I guess I share the Captain's feelings. A part of me felt relieved to be alive. But our safety had came at the expense of our Species 8472 guest, who simply wanted to return home. The whole incident left a bitter taste in my mouth. In a way, the Captain has to take some of the blame for Seven's actions. She had been so determined to teach Seven about individuality that she failed to point out that Voyager was a military ship with a command structure. The Captain punished Seven by restricting the latter's privileges and access to the ship's primary systems. In my opinion, the Captain should have tossed Seven's ass into the brig. End personal log.

STARDATE 51655.84:

Feelings against Seven are still high amongst the crew. B'Elanna made some comment that the Captain should have dumped Seven on the nearest Class-M planet or send her back to the Borg, when she had the chance. And maybe I should have kept my mouth shut, but I couldn't. I said that if the Captain had done that, she would have been guilty of the same thing, as Seven. Yes, I'm still angry at Seven for her actions, but I also realized that B'Elanna's comment had more to do with her dislike and jealousy of the former Borg. And personally, I was getting sick and tired of her anti-Seven attitude. Anyway, B'Elanna did not say anything. But the look in her eyes told me not to bother visiting her quarters, tonight. To hell with it! I'm not ashamed over what I said. I meant every word of it. End personal log.

STARDATE 51660.72:

It's been two days since B'Elanna and I had stopped talking to each other. But we finally reconciled over lunch, earlier this afternoon. I apologized for my remark. And she apologized for overreacting. We agreed to celebrate our cease-fire with a quiet dinner in her quarters, tonight.

Meanwhile, B'Elanna told me about an incident between Seven and that arms dealer, Koven. Apparently, Seven lost her temper and broke the man's nose when he touched her. Seven claimed that earlier today, Koven had immobilized her and tried to steal some of her nanoprobes. Although he was charged with assault, no one could prove whether he had done it or not. Koven ended up committing suicide before he could . . . (Red Alert Klaxon interrupts) What the hell?

(Chakotay: "Red alert! All hands to battle stations!)

Oh well, I'll finish this another time. End personal log.

STARDATE 51717.23:

The Hirogen have finally left Voyager. Thank God! Actually, they've been gone for at least 12 hours, by now. (Sighs) I can't believe we've been under their control for nearly three weeks! It's a good thing Harry had found a way to disengage our neural interfaces. Or else the Captain would have never been able to start a resistance against our "visitors".

In the end, the Hirogen must have realized their attempt to maintain control of Voyager was futile - to quote the Borg. (Pauses) Perhaps I should start from the beginning. Only I'm not really in the mood to recall what happened. To be honest, I haven't the foggiest idea on what happened during the past three weeks. I guess that comes from being used as a toy for a bunch of aliens bent upon playing war in the holodecks. (Pauses) To hell with it! I need some sleep. End personal log.

STARDATE 51719.82:

God, I am so tired! The repairs on Voyager seemed to go on forever. B'Elanna, Harry and a team of engineers have been removing holo-emitters from Decks Five, Six and Seven. Several of the pilots have been helping me repair both the Helm and the Navigational systems. I also agreed to help Harry repair both holodecks - especially Holodeck One. (Pauses)

The Saint-Claire program has completely gone offline. Several of the crew wanted the damn thing deleted permanently. I'm a little undecided on the subject. It's funny. I've been obsessed with 20th century Earth history for years. I had even managed to express a little enthusiasm to Seven, after our neural interfaces were disengaged. And yet . . . I cannot seem to find the enthusiasm anymore. At least not now. Christ! I'm babbling like an idiot! Maybe dinner with B'Elanna will help. End personal log.

STARDATE 51724.66:

The ship repairs are nearly finished, thank God! We've actually managed to have something close to a normal day, today. Almost. Some of the crew - namely old Starfleeters like Baxter and Murphy - have been complaining about the Captain's decision to hand over holographic technology to the Hirogen, claiming that her action was a breach of Starfleet protocols. Jesus Christ! These "by-the-book" types really get on my nerves! It's not as if the Captain had any choice. It was either make a deal with the Hirogen or continue the fight against them until we all ended up dead.

The Saint-Claire program remains in the computer system. I guess that some of the crew has actually grown fond of it. I can't say that I feel the same. I prefer this new program I have created. It's mainly a garage on Earth, where I can repair a 1969 Camarro and listen to 20th century Rock music from a radio. It's a hell of a lot better than reliving Saint-Claire, circa 1944. The latter only reminds me . . . (Sighs) Hell, I might as well confess. It reminds me of a lot of unpleasant things. Like getting beaten senseless by that damn holographic Nazi, nearly getting killed twice, and (Pauses) seeing B'Elanna pregnant. With another man's child. Okay, I know that the baby wasn't real. And neither was the father. Yet, I still feel uneasy thinking about it. Along with that Nazi pig screaming all over the place about him being the child's father. Christ! My life has really been out of control for the past two-and-a-half months. Considering how I feel right now, I might as well be wearing one of those neural interfaces. End personal log.

STARDATE 51732.91:

I have a feeling that B'Elanna might be pissed at me. And the odd thing is I don't care. When Harry was describing the French Resistance in the Saint-Claire program to her during lunch in the Mess Hall, she began comparing it to the Maquis, back home. Like I needed to be reminded of that. It's bad enough that crewmen like Dalby and Chell have been making similar comparisons. When B'Elanna began comparing the Cardassians to the Nazis, I couldn't take it any longer. In other words, I left. I rather think about my new Camarro program, thank you very much. End personal log.

STARDATE 51739.75:

Oh God! I think I just had one of the worst dreams, ever. The Hirogen were still on Voyager and using us for holographic simulations. Only, instead of being a WWII soldier or a Klingon warrior, I was myself - Tom Paris. Only this Tom happened to be a Starfleet officer back in the Alpha Quadrant, with a successful career in the Command track, a perfect wife (with B'Elanna's human face), who was pregnant with the perfect child. In the dream, I found myself commanding a starship battling against the Cardassians. Two of the Cardassian officers appeared on the Bridge's view screen . . . and transformed into the Admiral himself, beaming with parental pride; and Captain Janeway looking rather smug and satisfied. And that was when I woke up in a sweat. (Pauses) Christ! Talk about a personal horror story. Oh God, it's only past midnight and I'm fully awake. Maybe a trip to Holodeck Two will help me relax. End personal log.

STARDATE 51752.24:

If one more person asks me how I'm feeling, I swear I am going to space myself out of sheer relief. Chakotay has asked me. So has Harry. Baytart complained that I've been neglecting the division. Maybe he feels he can do better. B'Elanna nearly blew her top when I broke our date. For the fifth time, according to her. And the Doctor has been hounding me about missing my shifts in Sick Bay. Hell, if he's that unsatisfied with my work, perhaps he should request someone from the Science Division to act as his Chief Medical Assistant. There are plenty of candidates.

(Sighs) God, I just feel like I'm trapped, sometimes. If the Admiral could see me now, he would be thrilled that his wayward son is finally becoming the perfect Starfleet officer he had dreamed about. Living up to the Paris name. He would probably give Janeway a medal for accomplishing what he had failed to do. Thank God for my new holodeck program! It's a hell of lot better than trying to be the perfect Starfleet officer. End personal log.

STARDATE 51754.9:

We have a new visitor aboard Voyager. His name is Steth. He's a Benthan test pilot, whose ship we had to stabilize after he had jumped out of warp. It seems that he was testing a vessel that used a coaxial warp drive. I've heard about it at the Academy, but I never thought I would see one in person.

Steth seems like a pleasant guy. And since we happened to be fellow pilots, I thought it would be great to help him repair his ship . . . and learn how his species managed to utilize the coaxial warp drive. Fortunately, Chakotay gave me permission. Unfortunately that would mean breaking another date with B'Elanna. And she did not take the news very well. End personal log.

STARDATE 51763.84:

(Sighs) Hell, I don't know how to begin this log entry. The last few days have really been bizarre. Steth turned out to be a DNA thief, who not only steals individuals' DNA to assume forms, but also deposits his or her current genetic material into the victims. Only, it wasn't really Steth who had stolen my DNA.

After I had awakened on Steth's ship and in his body - I met the real Steth. The latter happened to be trapped in the body of a female alien named Daelen. In other words, it was Daelen - in Steth's body - who had first appeared on Voyager. According to Steth, he had first met Daelen at a space station several light years aways. Daelen pretended to be an admirer of him - giving her the chance to steal his body. And Steth had been trapped in Daelen's body ever since.

Steth and I eventually caught up with Voyager and captured Daelen - who had, by then, assumed the Captain's identity. Sound confusing. I suspect that many of us were confused. It seemed a miracle that the Doc had managed to restore all of us to our rightful bodies. He added that there is a good chance that Daelen might not be the true identity of the DNA thief. Steth should be on his way back to the Benthan system, to deliver Daenen to the authorities. I hope that he makes it back without any mishaps. End personal log.


B'Elanna and I finally had a talk about recent events. And I'm not just talking about Steth and Daelen. I showed her my Grease Monkey program in Holodeck Two, and told her the reason behind my recent odd behavior.

I finally realized that it all began with the letters from home. Contacting with Starfleet had bothered me a lot more than I had realized. I had been happy with my life aboard Voyager, and viewed our communication with the Federation as a threat to that happiness. The Captain, Harry and many others might view the Alpha Quadrant as home. I don't. Not anymore. For me, the Federation is nothing but a symbol of most of the unhappiness in my life - from being Dad's little protégée during my childhood, to the problems I had endured in Starfleet and the Maquis. It was in the Alpha Quadrant where I had allowed my father, tradition, Starfleet, and my own fears rule me. Sometimes I wonder if I ever had any kind of control over my life. Thanks to our encounters with the Hirogen and communication with Starfleet that lack of control seemed to have reach Voyager.

B'Elanna understood. She even suggested that I might have been heading for a full-blown depression. Maybe. But my encounter with Daelen seemed to have snapped me out of it. Because right now, I feel as if I'm in some kind of control, again. I'm happy to have returned to Voyager. And I'm glad to be back with B'Elanna. I missed her very much.

The subject of Daelen finally came up. I had overheard what she . . . or he had said to me about B'Elanna, while in the Captain's body. B'Elanna finally admitted that she and the phony Tom had kissed. Fortunately, she had also been too busy in Engineering for anything "further" to happen. Thank God for small miracles. End personal log.


I am happy to report that one Ensign Harry Kim may no longer harbors an infatuation for said former Borg drone named Seven-of-Nine. How did this miraculous event happened? Well, I guess one can thank an incident regarding a space phenomenon that threatened Voyager and some alien science station. According to Seven, the Borg regarded the phenomenon as a source of energy and a means to achieve perfection. In her "haste" to examine the manner, she became very officious toward the crew working with her on the project. Including Harry. I guess he didn't care being treated as another mindless drone being assigned a Borg designation. Hmmm. End personal log.

STARDATE 51812.88:

We seemed to have a bit of a mystery aboard Voyager. Chakotay had come across some written notes in his handwriting, claiming that an alien bounty hunter had visited Voyager seeking asylum from her race. Twice. According to the notes, Chakotay fell in love with refugee and enjoyed a brief affair. O-kay. If he insists that happened. However, there is no proof in the computer's database to support his claim. End personal log.

STARDATE 51826.67:

Voyager made contact with a group of aliens called the Vaskans to trade for deuterium and instead, ended up in the middle of a war. The Vaskans' enemies, the Kyrians, had come to the conclusion that the Captain had formed an alliance with the Vaskans. Apparently, they had never heard of the Prime Directive. Anyway, to make a long story short, a group of Kyrians boarded Voyager and made their way toward Engineering. What is it about that place that attracts intruders? Fortunately, B'Elanna was in one of the Jeffries Tubes and missed the fireworks. But four of her engineers ended up dead. Security tracked the intruders to the Mess Hall and bagged the lot. The Vaskan ambassador needlessly shot the Kyrian ringleader, and pissed off the Captain. Which means we will have to find another source of deuterium. End personal log.

STARDATE 51835.41:

B'Elanna is still upset over the Vaskan/Kyrian incident. She has been taking the deaths of her four engineers rather hard, lately. A lot harder than she has done so in the past. In fact, she's been shutting herself up in Engineering, continuing with those slipstream drive experiments. Naturally, I sympathize, but I'm beginning to wonder if her behavior is a bit . . . drastic. End personal log.

STARDATE 51837.11:

Our deuterium crisis is now affecting the ship's systems. The Captain has ordered the crew to double up in living quarters, to conserve power until we are able to acquire more deuterium. Seven finally managed to locate a source on some Demon-class planet, several light years away. Because of the planet's atmosphere and condition, we would be unable to beam to its surface. Harry had eventually come up with idea of sending an Away team via shuttle, to the surface. Tuvok naysayed the idea - as usual. But to my surprise, Ensign Eager shot down Mr. Doom-n-Gloom with a few choice words. Mind you, I don't dislike Tuvok, contrary to what one may think. In fact, I rather like him. But he does have a tendency to view everything in a pessimistic manner. And talk down to others. So I say - good for Harry. By the way, the little bastard had also suggested that I accompany him on the Away mission. Cretin. End personal log.

STARDATE 51840.93:

It felt strange seeing duplicates of the crew, standing on the surface of that Demon-class planet, while Voyager departed. Very strange. This all happened after Harry and I became the first to be duplicated, during our Away mission on the planet. Our AVS suits became damaged when the liquefied deuterium made contact with our bodies. We probably would have died if the Doctor had not figured out that Chakotay and Seven had returned to the ship with our doubles.

Harry's duplicate had asked the Captain if each crewman would leave behind a sample of DNA. Apparently, he and the "other Tom" did not want to be the only humanoid life on that planet. B'Elanna was among the first to volunteer for duplication. Very strange. I felt certain that she would be among the few to protest. She told me that after meeting the clone Tom in Sick Bay, she could not bear the idea of him being alone on that planet. God! Isn't it any wonder that I love her? End personal log.

STARDATE 51928.11:

Oh God! I don't want to do this! I don't want to spend the next four weeks inside that coffin! Okay. It's not a coffin, but a stasis unit. But the damn thing looks like a coffin. And the entire crew, except for Seven and the Doctor, will be forced to remain in one for an entire month because of some damn Mitara-class nebula. We had already made an attempt to travel through it, yesterday. But it didn't take long - three minutes to be exact - before we were all affected by the nebula's subnucleonic radiation. Nor did the Captain want to detour around the nebula. That particular journey would take at least a year. Personally, I couldn't care less how long it would take. Better that than spending a month in stasis. But the Captain . . . well, there's no need to go on about her obsession in getting home. She wants to use the shortcut through the nebula. That means, I will have to face the coffin.

Thanks to her Borg nanoprobes, Seven wasn't affected by the radiation. Which means that she will be monitoring our units and taking Voyager through the nebula. At least she'll be able to avoid the coffins. Lucky woman. Then again, her only company will be the Doc. End personal log.

STARDATE 51930.36:

Seven said a strange thing during lunch, today. Let me start from the beginning. After Voyager had finally ended its journey through the Mitara-class nebula, the Captain, Chakotay and the Doc found Seven in a state of delirium and sent her to Sick Bay. After being alone for a long period - especially after the Doc's program went offline - the lack of company had affected her. She later joined B'Elanna, Harry and me in the Mess Hall and brought up the fact that I had managed to slip out of my stasis unit at least three times.

Harry wanted to know why I was so claustrophobic. I certainly couldn't tell them - at least Harry and Seven - that it all stemmed from a childhood incident. And an embarrassing one, at that. However, Seven came up with her own answer. She said that perhaps I was afraid of being alone. I cannot help but wonder if she was talking about me? Or herself? End personal log.

STARDATE 51972.37:

Neelix, Lang and I will visit the Polarius system, tomorrow for some much needed supplies. I wouldn't mind the trip. After nearly a month in stasis, I'm beginning to feel a little stir crazy. I could use an Away mission. And a few days in Neelix's company sounds pleasant. End personal log.

STARDATE 51979.49:

Thank goodness for Arturis. He's an alien that Neelix, Lang and I had encountered on the homeworld of a Xenon-based race. If it weren't for his linguist skills, we would have never been able to do any trade. Especially after our Universal translators had began to malfunction. We brought him back to Voyager, where he proved to be valuable, once more. He was able to assist the Captain in breaking the encrypted message we had received from Starfleet, nearly six months ago. End personal log.

STARDATE 51980.35:

I take it all back. I like Arturis, but now I wish that Neelix, Lang and I had never met him. And I wish he had never been able to translate that encrypted message. It seems that Starfleet had provided coordinates to a ship they had sent to the Delta Quadrant to provide us a way home. An experimental ship with a slipstream drive, called the U.S.S. Dauntless.

When Tuvok, Chakotay and I first boarded the Dauntless, it had somehow activated and sent us fifteen light years ahead. It took Voyager two days to track us down. The Captain then ordered the crew to examine the Dauntless for any new technology that Starfleet have provided us. Since she's reluctant to abandon Voyager, she ordered Engineering to begin modifying the ship's engines to adopt a similar slipstream drive. Or maybe modify the slipstream experiments that B'Elanna, Seven and the Engineering crew have been conducting.

Everyone seems excited over the prospect of getting home. Even B'Elanna. I sometimes wonder if she has lost her mind. I mean, what does she have to look forward in the Alpha Quadrant? The Maquis has been destroyed. She, Chakotay and the others will probably face at least one or two years in a Federation prison - along with myself. And there's a war going on, back home. Judging from the information we've received, it's not going well.

And there is one last thing - this whole matter regarding the Dauntless sounds a bit off to me. I find it hard to believe that Starfleet had managed to provide us with a means to travel home in such a short space of time. I mean, how much time had passed between the Doc's visit to the Alpha Quadrant and our letters from home? Two weeks. And unless Starfleet has been working on such a slipstream drive during the past three to four years, I find it hard to believe that it took them two weeks to create one and send it to the Delta Quadrant - unmanned. (Pauses) Now that I think about it, I'm beginning to wonder if Arturis. This all started when Neelix, Lang and I first met him. Or had it? End personal log.

STARDATE 51988.2:

Everyone is now disappointed that the Dauntless turned out to be a hoax. It wasn't an experimental Starfleet vessel. It was Arturis' own ship. He had set a trap. Apparently, he had intercepted Admiral Hayes' message to the Captain and modified it. All because he wanted to lead us to the Dauntless - and eventually into the arms of the Borg. We managed to get some of the crew off the Dauntless - including B'Elanna, thank God. Unfortunately, the Captain and Seven had remained trapped aboard with Arturis. Using the slipstream modification made on Voyager, we managed to chase the Dauntless and beam the Captain and Seven back to the ship. Poor Arturis ended up assimilated by the Borg.

Why did he do it? Why did Arturis go through so much trouble to get us assimilated by the Borg? It seems that his homeworld had spent centuries evading assimilation. About a year ago, their efforts were beginning to fail when the Borg decided to invade Species 8472's fluidic space. Arturis' people had looked forward to the Borg's defeat. Unfortunately, our alliance with the Borg destroyed all hope. And Arturis' world ended up assimilated.

I think the Captain tried to dismiss his people's fate as a bad misfortune. Maybe she's right. I understand why Arturis tried to destroy us . . . even though my sympathy can only go so far, considering that he had nearly succeeded. On the other hand, aside from Seven's rescue from the Collective, nothing really good had come from that damn alliance. And despite her "let's move on" attitude, I suspect that the Captain feels the same. End personal log.

STARDATE 51994.11:

Voyager entered an expanse of space, devoid of any stars, nebulas or other stellar sightings. A void in space. Christ! It looked so . . . empty. And to make matters worse, we'll be traveling through this void for at least a year or two. According to Seven, the void stretches at least 2,500 light years. That's about two years. God, how depressing! End personal log.

STARDATE 51999.04:

We haven't been in this void very long and already, it's affecting the crew's morale. Since the New Year is coming up, Neelix has been campaigning for our usual New Year's Eve bash. Hell, I could sure use it. Staring at nothing but black space for hours on end isn't doing much for my morale. And I've noticed that ever since the Arturis debacle, B'Elanna has been distant toward me. Perhaps a holiday celebration is what the both of us need. I'm beginning to think that the Captain also needs this party. She didn't bother to leave her quarters, today. And she's not sick. (Pauses) Anyway, nothing else has happened today. End personal log.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"THERE WILL BE BLOOD" (2007) Review

”THERE WILL BE BLOOD” (2007) Review

I really do not know what to say about Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie, ”THERE WILL BE BLOOD”. This movie, based upon Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel ”Oil!”, is about a ruthless oilman in California between 1898 and 1927. I cannot deny that this is basically an excellent film and that Daniel Day-Lewis gave one of the best performances of career. I cannot also deny that ”THERE WILL BE BLOOD” was basically well written, produced and directed by director Anderson. I basically enjoyed it very much and consider it to be one of the better films released this year. But for some reason, I cannot muster any real passion for it.

I must admit that there were times that I found the movie fascinating. One has to thank leading Daniel Day-Lewis’ riveting performance maintaining my interest. He portrayed the ruthless Daniel Plainview, a hard-working silver prospector who discovered an oil well, while prospecting for silver. On the very day he discovers his first oil well, one of his employees die in an accident and Plainview adopts the dead man’s infant son. By 1911, he is one of the most successful oil men in California. In order to convince many farmers and other small landowners to drill on their land, he uses his adoptive son, whom he names H.W. (Dillon Freasier), as his "partner" to project his status as a family man and a family businessman. Plainview is approached by a young man named Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) who sells Plainview an oil lead located on his family's property in Little Boston, California. Plainview and H.W. travel to Little Boston, and, pretending to be hunting quail, scout out the Sunday property and discover a good amount of seepage oil. Plainview attempts to buy the property without notifying Paul's father Abel (David Willis) of the oil, but Paul's twin brother, Eli (again Paul Dano), knows of the oil and raises the price to $10,000, the bulk of which he intends to put into the founding of his own Church. Plainview pays him $5000 up front and promises the other $5000 as a donation to the church. In order to ensure the monopoly on the Little Boston oil, Plainview buys the "ranches" of a number of the surrounding neighbors, with the exception of one property, which the owner, a Mr. Bandy (Hans Howes), was hesitant to sell.

As I had earlier stated, the heart and soul of ”THERE WILL BE BLOOD” for me was Daniel Day-Lewis. His Daniel Plainview has to be one of the most fascinating characters in movie history. Certainly not in literary history, since Plainview was a character created for the screen by Anderson. I really do not know how to describe him. He seemed to be the epitome of those ruthless tycoons of the late 19th century and early 20th century. He is certainly not typical. Utilizing a John Huston accent, Day-Lewis captured all of the malevolence , cunning and emotional perversity of Plainview, as he draws the audience into the character’s unchecked greed for wealth and power. The ironic thing is that Plainview does not seem to care for the trappings of wealth. One example of this is his habit of sleeping on the floor, even when a comfortable bed is available. And even in that exclusive mansion he has built by the end of the film, he sleeps on the floor inside the mansion’s bowling alley. But the money and power, he definitely needs. And he needs an audience to witness his financial triumphs, judging how he had temporarily abandoned H.W. when the latter first lost his hearing in an accident and how he took under his wings, a man claiming to be a long lost brother named Henry Brands (Kevin J. O’Connor). Day-Lewis has won both a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. Not only did I find his wins unsurprising, but deserving, as well.

It is a shame that the Golden Globes and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science had failed to acknowledge Paul Dano for his performances as the twin brothers – Paul and Eli Sunday, and Dillon Freasier as the young H.W. Plainview. Dano, who had last impressed critics with his supporting role in ”LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE”, had studied evangelism for his role as the Sunday twins. The Paul Sunday character made a brief appearance near the beginning of the story, but Dano’s performance as the other twin Eli really impressed me. Dano’s performance revealed the malevolence and greed for wealth and power behind Eli’s meek and religious demeanor – traits that seemed to match Plainview’s. Anderson could not find a child actor to portray Plainview’s adoptive son, H.W., so he had hired the son of a Texas state trooper who had pulled over the movie’s casting agent for speeding. Like Dakota Blue Richards in ”THE GOLDEN COMPASS”, Dillon Freasier turned out to be find. Especially for Anderson and the movie. With very few words, the young actor managed to convey all of his character’s array of emotions experienced in the film – from his intelligence and warmth, to his suspicions and resentment of Plainview’s relationship with Henry Brands.

Most of ”THERE WILL BE BLOOD” seemed to be set during 1911. Sinclair’s novel seemed to be a condemnation of the oil industry itself and a response to the infamous Teapot Dome Scandal during the Warren G. Harding administration. Anderson does condemn the oil industry in California, especially in his revelation of how many small landowners were cheated out of millions of dollars through the manipulations of oil companies and tycoons. But for me, ”THERE WILL BE BLOOD” seemed more like a character study than an expose on a major industry. But I must admit that it is a first-class movie and probably one of the better ones of 2007. Anderson paced the movie very well, making one ALMOST forget that this movie is fifteen minutes short of three hours. With actors like Day-Lewis, Dano, Freasier, Ciarán Hinds and Kevin J. O’Connor, Anderson managed to make the most of a first-class cast. Well, almost. More on that later. Did it deserve to win the Best Picture Oscar? Quite frankly, I do not think so. As excellent as the movie is . . . as first-rate is Day-Lewis’ performance, it did not exactly rock my boat. Quite frankly, I do have a few problems with the film.

As I had stated earlier, ”THERE WILL BE BLOOD” seemed more like a character study, instead of an expose. And because of that, I feel that it could have been at least a half hour or forty-five minutes shorter. When I said that Anderson had almost made me forget that this movie was nearly three hours long, I was serious. He ALMOST made me forget about the film’s running time. Until the story shifted to 1927. Frankly, I do not see why Anderson had even bothered. Following the time shift, the movie lost its epic scope. Even Plainview’s personality seemed to have lost some of its steam . . . until his last encounter with Eli Sunday. Speaking of those two, I believe that the make-up artist may have done both Day-Lewis and Dano a bit of a disservice. Despite the fifteen to sixteen year difference between the two time shifts, I never really got the impression that either Plainview or Sunday had aged at all. There was barely a strand of gray in Day-Lewis’ hair and Dano still looked like a young man in his early twenties, despite the fact that Eli Sunday must have been at least in his mid-to-late thirties during this period. But the one thing I truly disliked about the film was its abrupt ending. One can say that the movie ended with the final confrontation between the two adversaries. But there is this feeling in my gut that Anderson had ended the movie in the middle of the story’s finale. He probably had a reason for ending it in this manner. Whatever reason he had, it has eluded me.

Despite some of my disenchantment with ”THERE WILL BE BLOOD”, I must admit that it is overall, an excellent film. It may not have rocked my boat, but I did find it fascinating. And if you can deal with a two hour and forty-five minute study about a fictional character, then I suggest that you go rent the movie.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Second Power" [PG-13] - 2/8



Seconds after leaving the McNeill house, Leo orbed before the Elders' Council. Judging by their expressions, none of the Elders seemed pleased. "Well?" one of them demanded. It was Sylvester, one of the Council's veteran members. His dark eyes bored into Leo's. "Does the McNeill witch have a fire power or not?"

Leo nodded. "Uh yes. Yes, she does." Anxious voices filled the chamber. "But none of the McNeills seem concerned. According to Olivia's father, she's not the first in her family to receive pyrokinesis."

"We are well aware of that fact," another Elder replied tartly. It was MacKenzie. The white-haired, thin man also happened to be a veteran council member. "Which is one of the reasons why we have been leery of the McNeill family for centuries. Along with their . . . unconventional approach to the Craft, pyrokinesis has always been rather . . . strong in their line. And we're not thrilled that this particular McNeill happens to be very close to that . . . to Belthazor."

Discomfort surged through Leo. He shifted from one foot to another. "Uh, speaking of Bel . . . um, Cole, Olivia's parents have suggested that he help her control her new power."

Again, anxious voices filled the chamber. Only they seemed to rumble louder. Sylvester cried out, "Have that demon teach your witch to control her fire power? Are you insane?"

Leo found the Elders' reaction toward Olivia and Cole baffling. Granted, he was never particularly thrilled about their relationship. But the Elders had never said a word about Phoebe and Cole. Why were they so antagonistic toward this new relationship? He finally expressed his confusion. "Olivia is no longer my charge. She hasn't been my charge in over twelve years. I don't understand. You were never this concerned about Cole and Phoebe."

A pale, dark-haired woman in her late thirties spoke up. "That is due to the fact that as Belthazor, and later as the Source, he could be stopped by the Charmed Ones. In case he became a threat." Elder Mathilda Wells had been an Elder for over 300 years. "We knew that Belthazor would play a part in the Charmed Ones' destiny to destroy the Source. But now," she gave her head a sad shake, "his new powers make him an undetermined threat."

"Belthazor's relationship with the McNeill witch might prove to be an even bigger threat," MacKenzie added. "Now that she has this new power."

Leo could not believe his ears. The Elders actually considered Olivia and Cole a threat! Why? "I . . ." he began.

"We have no say about the witch's new power," Sylvester said, interrupting Leo. He leaned forward, his dark eyes glittering in a manner that made the whitelighter nervous. "But her relationship with Belthazor is another matter. Nip it in the bud, Leo. Now! I realize that she is no longer your charge. But she is still a friend of yours, I believe. Use your influence and do something about her relationship with Belthazor. Before we all find ourselves in serious danger!"

* * * *

"I just spoke with Margot," Barbara's voice announced over the telephone. "I told her about your new power and she has agreed to help you learn to control it."

Olivia heaved a sigh of relief. "Thanks Barb. You've been a real help."

Her future sister-in-law added, "Of course, I still don't understand why you won't ask Cole to help you. He is your best cha . . ."

"Barbara?" Olivia's voice came out sharper than she had intended. "I've made my decision about Cole. Okay?"

But the other woman refused to dismiss the subject. "If you say so. But if you think I don't know why you're avoiding him, you're mistaken. After all, I was also at that party. And so was Bruce."

Silence fell between the two friends. Olivia's first instinct was to lambaste her friend. But realizing that the ugly truth might rear its head, she decided to ignore the topic of one Cole Turner. "So, when will Margot be available?"

Barbara sighed. "Tomorrow, on Tuesday. She has a doctor's appointment, today. Margot said to expect her around eleven in the morning."

"Great. I'll be expecting her." The two friends exchanged a few more words before finally hanging up. Seconds later, Olivia dialed another number.

The telephone rang several times before a voice on the other end of the line answered. "San Francisco PD. Homicide. Inspector Morris speaking."

"Hi Darryl, this is Olivia. I'm calling in sick, today. In fact, I might be out of the office, all week. Could you transfer me to the Captain?"

A pause followed before Darryl answered, "McPherson's not in, right now. He's at a Division meeting. Uh, are you okay? You have a cold or something?"

"It's a lot worse than a cold," Olivia answered ominously. "Let's just say that it's something I don't want to be exposed at the office."

"Oh. I see." Darryl hesitated. "Well, uh I hope you get . . . you get better. See you in a week?"

Olivia sighed. "Hopefully. Catch you later, Darryl. Bye."

"Take care, partner." The line went dead.

Another sigh left Olivia's mouth, as she disconnected her telephone. Then she took a deep breath and sat down in the middle of the floor. Meditation, Mom and Dad had said. Meditation and practice of her new power. Her new power, which consisted of fire. Deep down, Olivia knew who was the best person to help her. But she was damned if she would beg to Cole Turner for help. Not after he had humiliated her at Warren Mitchell's New Year's party.

Olivia felt the surging anger within her, as she recalled the kiss she and Cole had exchanged. A sensuous kiss, soft and light, yet filled with passion. For a few brief moments, Olivia believed that Cole harbored more than friendship toward her. Until . . . until he ended the kiss. Pushed her away with such abruptness. Was the idea of kissing her so repugnant to him?

Her anger continued to build. The more she brooded on the half-demon, the more difficult it became for Olivia to keep her emotions in check. 'Calm down' she told herself. 'Relax. Or else you'll end up torching the entire building.' Olivia took a deep breath and closed her eyes.

"O eternal Goddess, Maiden, Mother and Crone, I am made from your flesh and you know me better than I know myself."

Images of the New Year's ball popped into Olivia's mind. Images of guests glancing at the clock on the far wall, while seconds ticked toward midnight.

"You understand depression, frustration, and anxiety. Please help me to control these emotions, and help me to convert these powerful feelings into love. O eternal God, King of infinite wisdom and goodness, I am created from your essence, and I thank you for the gift of life."

Olivia tried to suppress further memories of the New Year, but they continued to flood her mind. She saw the second's hand reach the number twelve. Heard everyone cry out, "Happy New Year!" And the band began to play "Auld Lang Syne".

"Please teach me to be patient and humble, tolerant and gentle, especially when life's problems become heavy and difficult to bear. So Mote It Be."

More images flashed in her thoughts. Olivia saw couples kissing. She saw her and Cole face each other with eyes filled with doubt, confusion and longing. She felt Cole's warm lips press against hers and relived the memory of the heat and desire that radiated from those lips. Most of all, recalled the rough manner in which he had pushed her away . . . and the horrified expression stamped on his face.

Anger and embarrassment resurged within Olivia within a blink of an eye. And she quickly forgot about her attempts at meditation. Blue lights materialized in the air and converged into the form of one Paige Matthews.

"Hey Olivia! How's the . . .?" The Charmed One broke off as a stream of fire rushed toward her head. Paige orbed away from the line of fire and reappeared behind the older witch. "What the hell?"

Olivia lowered her hand and heaved a huge sigh. "Dammit Paige!" she cried. "Haven't you heard of knocking? I could have killed you!"

"Sorry," the younger woman replied. "Bad habit."

"Really? Then why don't you try learning how to break it?"

Paige stared at Olivia through narrowed eyes. "My, we're in a real snit, this morning. I guess your meditation isn't helping after all."

Another sigh left Olivia's mouth. "No, I . . . I'm sorry. I guess I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever have control of this damn power." She rose from the floor and stalked toward the kitchen. "You want something to drink? I've got lemonade."

"Yeah. Sure." Paige followed the older woman. "Hey, if you're having so much trouble, maybe it's due to some . . ." She sat down on one of the kitchen chairs. "Are you going through some emotional problems, now? Phoebe was having trouble with her powers, last fall. While she was dealing with Cole's . . . uh, you know, return."

Olivia removed a pitcher of lemonade from the fridge. "Are you saying that I'm now going through the same problems?" She retrieved two glasses from the cabinet and filled them with lemonade, before handing one to Paige.

Paige took a deep breath. "Maybe you are. I mean I haven't seen you and Cole together for two weeks. And you can barely meditate, let alone control your new power." Her eyes fell upon the glass in her hand. "Maybe you and Cole should um, . . . you know, deal with whatever is driving you two apart."

Silence filled the air. Olivia took a sip of lemonade. So did Paige. The older woman hated to admit that perhaps the latter was right. Not because the younger woman's wisdom seemed so obvious. Olivia simply hated the idea of reliving that humiliating moment from two weeks ago.

"But if you don't want to talk about any problems you might have," Paige began.

Olivia finished the rest of her drink in several gulps. She sighed. "No, you're right. The only way to deal with this new power is to deal with whatever is bothering me."

"Namely Cole."

The older witch gave her younger guest a shrewd glance. "Gee, how did you guess?"

Paige shrugged. "Like I said, I haven't seen you and Cole together in quite a while. And you seemed to get this look on your face, whenever someone mentions his name."

"Okay, I get the picture," Olivia snapped, as she poured herself another glass of lemonade. "In regard to Cole . . . it's not what you might think. He hasn't done anything one would consider . . . demonic. Or evil."

Nodding, Paige replied, "Yeah, I kind of figured that. Or else Leo would have told us. Or we would all be dead."

Olivia shot Paige a dark look. "My, that Halliwell wit is in top form, today. Isn't it?"

"I wasn't being witty," Paige protested.

"I noticed."

Paige heaved a frustrated sigh. "Olivia! C'mon! Be serious! Why are you so reluctant to get Cole's help? What did he do to piss you off?"

After a few more sips of lemonade, Olivia revealed the events between her and Cole, at Warren Mitchell's New Year party. Surprise, shock . . . and a little pity flashed in the Charmed One's dark eyes. "Gee! No wonder you're pissed! I would be too. How humiliating!"

"No kidding," Olivia retorted. "Now, you understand why I refuse to ask for Cole's help."

Paige nodded. "Yeah, I understand. But I still think you should ask for his help, anyway."


"C'mon Livy," Paige continued, "it's like your dad said. You have pyrokinesis and it's very powerful. How many witches do you know have a fire power at that level?"

Was it really difficult to accept that a novice witch (no matter how powerful) that was six years younger could dish out such wise advice? Olivia pondered over the possibility. But only for a moment. Since Paige happened to be younger and less experienced in life . . .

"Screw Cole!" the redhead spewed. "Barbara has already found someone to help me. She's a fire witch from Sausalito named Margot Palmer and she'll be here, tomorrow morning." Olivia finished her second glass of lemonade. "So, contrary to what everyone else says, I don't need Cole's help. Nor do I need him in my life!"

Olivia glanced at Paige, who merely shook her head and sighed. "Oh well, I only hope that you don't end up incinerating this Margot person by the end of the week."

* * * *

The Golden Horn Restaurant bustled with activity during the early afternoon. Among the patrons inside the elegant restaurant, sat Cole and his latest client, one Mark Giovanni. The two men sat next to one of the large windows that overlooked the city of San Francisco and the bay.

"This Chardonnay is quite good," Giovanni commented. He was a slender, dark-haired man of medium height. Although a year short of forty and not quite handsome, Giovanni possessed a pair of dark eyes that many have found compelling. Intense. "Good, but I'm sure that my own Chardonnay could top it."

Cole nodded. "I've heard of your Chardonnay. It's world famous, isn't it?"

"Well, not quite famous," the wine grower said with a modesty that failed to reach his eyes. "I believe that the BAY-MIRROR's article may have been a bit exaggerated."

"Hmmm." From the corner of his eye, Cole spotted someone entering the restaurant. Someone with familiar red hair and green eyes.

Giovanni's eyes followed Cole's gaze. "Well! I do believe that the owner's other son has graced us with his presence. I just saw him last week, at Cordelia Morton's party. Gwen McNeill's son, isn't he?"

"He is," Cole added curtly. "Younger son. Harry."

The person in question glanced at the two men and nodded. Then he returned his attention to his beautiful companion. Cole and Giovanni continued to stare. "That's Cordelia's daughter he's with, the latter said. "What's her name? Dana. Dana Morton. Quite a looker. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that dynastic ties were being formed between the McNeills and the Mortons."

"Speaking of dynasties, Mr. Giovanni," Cole began, "let's talk about saving yours. Namely a certain piece of property, outside Oakville." A contrite Giovanni nodded and the discussion returned to business.

Twenty-five minutes later, the two men finished their meals. The wine grower excused himself and disappeared toward the men's restroom. Cole leaned back and enjoyed the last of his Chardonnay. A shadow cast over the table. Cole glanced up and frowned. "Harry?"

"Cole." The twenty-five year-old witch sat down in Giovanni's empty chair. He flashed the half-demon a wary smile. "It's been a while. Like two weeks. So, where have you been?"

A wave of embarrassment washed over Cole. "I . . . uh, I've been busy. Lately."

"Uh-huh. Including Saturdays and Sundays?"

Cole sighed. "Yeah, Harry. Even on Sundays. I've been very busy on Sundays. Taking long drives up the coast," he began sarcastically. "Sitting home and getting drunk on martinis."

The redhead's handsome face grew tight. Expressionless. "Sorry. Didn't realize that my company was getting on your last nerve."

"Harry, you didn't . . . I mean . . ." Again, Cole sighed. "Look, I'm sorry that I snapped back like that."

"It's nothing," Harry coolly replied. He shot a quick glance at his companion. "I better leave. I think Dana is getting impatient." He stood up. "Look, before I go, I thought you would like to know that Olivia had just received her second power. Yesterday."

Cole shot up in his seat, his attention focused on the younger man. "Second power? Olivia? What is it?" he demanded, frowning.

"I didn't think you would be interested."

Exasperated, Cole growled, "Harry!"

The youngest McNeill shrugged. "Okay, okay. Olivia now has a fire power. Pyrokinesis. And it's very strong."

Pyrokinesis? Speechless, Cole allowed his eyes to grow wide with shock.


Monday, January 28, 2008

"The Corellian Connection" [PG-13] - Chapter 7




All eyes now fell upon a very surprised Anakin, who regarded the senator's sister with surprise. And suspicion. "How . . ." He turned away and inhaled sharply. "How did you know?"

Thalia calmly replied, "I recognized you from the HoloNet News reports during the war. And as a former member of Andalian Intelligence, I had gathered reports of the war from Coruscant."

Han regarded Anakin with deep admiration. "You're Anakin Skywalker? You're one of the best pilots in the galaxy! And the only human who's ever won the Boonta Eve Classic!"

Confusion filled Senator Yeb's eyes. "Boonta Eve's?"

"It's a podrace on Tatooine," Anakin explained. "I won that race a long time ago." He stared at Han. "How did you know about that race?"

Han shrugged his shoulders. "A lot of pilots know about that race. How often does a human win at podracing?"

"Forget about the podracing!" Senator Yeb retorted. "I'm still trying to wrap my mind . . ." He broke off and stared at Anakin. "You're a former Jedi Knight?"

Anakin corrected the other man. "Former . . . Jedi, Senator. Now, if you would all please leave so I can prepare this food." The others began to file out of the galley, when Anakin clamped a hand on Han's shoulder. "Except for you, Mr. Solo. You'll have to earn your keep on this trip."

"But I don't know how to cook," Han protested.

"Neither did I, until a year ago. Let's go."

The two Andalians exchanged amused looks and left the galley. Anakin handed his apron over to Han and the pair commenced upon preparing the meal.



As the Alberforce flew through the dark reaches of the Morobe Sector, Padme made her way toward the star skiff's cockpit. She found the captain furiously punching buttons on the control console. A deep frown creased the redhead's brow. "Is there a problem, Captain?" Padme asked.

The other woman sat back into her seat with a deep sigh. "We might have some company. The sensors have picked up signs of another starship. More than one, as a matter of fact."

Padme felt a surge of anxiety. "The Imperials?" Had their departure from Alderaan been detected?

"It's possible," Captain Sen grimly replied. "And it looks as if I may have been right about being more than one ship."

Several minutes passed before Padme saw an Imperial ship hover into view. She inhaled sharply. Captain Sen froze in her chair, as if anticipating some kind of communication from the ship. Sure enough, a man's voice crackled from the Alberforce's communication system. "This is the Imperial ship Exactor. What is your business in this sector?"

The two women exchanged uneasy looks. Captain Sen took a deep breath and replied, "I'm Captain Sen of the Alberforce. I'm in route to the Melinda/Daan homeworld with passengers. How may I help you?"

"Transmit your ship's identification code," the voice ordered. Captain Sen removed an identification chip from the console and inserted it into a slot. A high-speed sound emitted from the console's computer for a few seconds. When it ended, the Imperial officer added, "You are clear to proceed."

A breathless Captain Sen replied, "Thank you." And the Alberforce continued its journey, leaving the Imperial warships in the wake of its path.

By the time the skiff was alone in space, Padme exhaled sharply. "That was a close call," she murmured.

"Too close for my comfort," the captain said. "It's a good thing my identification card indicated that we had left XXXX. I wonder where they are headed? There were two other Imperial warships with the Exactor. The Empire must be planning another invasion."

Padme frowned at the idea. "Invasion? Of which system? The Empire had just annexed Andalia not long ago. Most, if not all of the old Separatist systems are now under Imperial control."

Captain Sen shrugged her shoulders. "It could be that more Jedi have been found in another system."

One name popped into Padme's mind. Anakin. Had Palpatine finally discovered him? Or had the Emperor charged him with completely destroying the endangered Jedi? "I hope not," Padme murmured. "For their sake. It's bad enough that they have been accused of killing me during the last days of the war." She sighed. "If only I could deny that accusation."

"It's possible that a group of Jedi are planning a resistance against the Empire," Captain Sen replied. "Then again, I don't think there are enough of them around, anymore. The Clone War and the Jedi Purge had pretty much thinned their ranks." Padme winced, aware that Anakin was partially responsible for the latter. The captain continued, "I can think of a few Jedi who would love to rid the galaxy of the Emperor."

Another frown appeared on Padme's face. "You know a few Jedi Knights?"

"I've smuggled a few to Alderaan. Queen Breha and Prince Bail have given sanctuary to them right after the war." The captain added, "Along with a few other war refugees."

Padme murmured, "I had no idea. About the Jedi, I mean." Now, she understood why Bail and Breha had no qualms about offering sanctuary to her and the children.

A sigh left Captain Sen's mouth. "If those Imperial ships are after more Jedi refugees, I wish I was there to help them escape."

Padme found herself wishing the same. But she could not allow her idealism to overcome her sense of survival. Not while she had two infants of great Force potential to protect.



The Javian Hawk's four inhabitants finished the last of their midday meal of Nerfburgers. Anakin and Han collected the dirty plates and cups, allowing the two passengers a time for rest. Once the pair had cleaned the utensils, Han asked the pilot, "Can I join you in the cockpit?"

Anakin suspected this was an attempt by the boy to form a closer acquaintance. His first instinct was to insist that Han remain with the other passengers. But the boy's pleading eyes reminded Anakin of that nine year-old slave boy who had harbored a desire to see the galaxy beyond Tatooine. That idealistic young boy, who no longer existed . . . much to his regret. A heavy sigh escaped from Anakin's mouth. "Sure," he mumbled. "Why not?"

A wide smile stretched Han's lips. Anakin led him to the cockpit. "Strap yourself in," the former Jedi ordered.

"Why?" Han demanded.

"Because if something happens unexpectedly, I don't want to see your body fly beyond the cockpit shield."

A grimace touched Han's lips, as he did as Anakin ordered. The latter switched off the starship's autopilot system and resumed flying the Hawk. A comfortable silence fell between the young man and the boy, until the latter broke it, five minutes later. "What are you going to do with me when we reach wherever you're going?" Han asked. "And where are we going, by the way?"

Anakin replied, "The answer to your second question is we're heading for Averam. As for the first question . . ." He hesitated and pressed his lips together. "Well, I don't know. Perhaps Senator Yeb might be able to find a place or home for you, once we reach Averam."

"What kind of place?" A suspicious scowl appeared on Han's face. "I don't wanna be stuck in some orphanage."

"Look . . . Han," Anakin began, "you can't stay with me. I'm the last person who would be able to give you a stable home. Look at me! I'm a former Jedi Knight-turned Sith apprentice-turned smuggler. I'm wanted by the Empire. Even worse, I have blood on my hands. Staying with me will be detrimental to your health. Believe me."

Han's mouth hung open. "So you weren't kidding about killings others, huh?"

"No, I wasn't."

A third voice asked, "You have killed others?" Both Anakin and Han whirled around in their seats to find Senator Yeb standing behind them. The latter stared at Anakin. "Whom exactly did you kill?"

Another sigh left Anakin's mouth. Since he was about to tell Han about the Jedi Purge, he figured that the senator might as well know. "Members of the Jedi Order," he coolly replied. "At the Temple. I had killed padawans, knights, masters and younglings. I also killed the Separatist leaders on Mustafar, on the Emperor's orders."

Shock and confusion lit up the senator's dark eyes. Han merely gaped at Anakin. "You . . ." Senator Yeb broke off and inhaled sharply. "You killed all of those people?"

Anakin's gaze returned to the dark space beyond the cockpit shields. "Yes, Senator," he replied in a monotone voice.

"You were a Jedi Knight!" Senator Yeb exclaimed. "The Hero With No Fear! I don't understand." He paused, as realization gleamed in his eyes. "You took part in the Jedi Purge?"

A long pause followed. Memories of the Jedi Temple's destruction assailed Anakin's mind. He took a deep breath and answered, "Yes I did, Senator. In fact, I had led the attack upon the Temple."

"But why?" the senator demanded. The question also lingered in Han's eyes.

After another long pause, Anakin curtly replied, "For reasons I consider personal. The fact is, Senator, the Chancellor . . . or should I say the Emperor had led me to believe that he could help me with this matter. Unfortunately, I ended up pledging myself as his Sith apprentice in exchange for his help. Which led me to leading the attack upon the Jedi Temple that night."

"You were a Sith . . ." Senator Yeb paused. "But why would you pledge yourself to the Emperor . . ." His eyes grew wide with shock. "Wait. You mean to say that the . . ."

A sardonic smile curved Anakin's lips. "That's right, Senator. The Emperor Palpatine is a Sith Lord. Darth Sidious. And I was his apprentice, Darth Vader. After I had killed the Separatist leaders . . ." He paused, as more memories of Mustafar overwhelmed him - his attack upon Padme and the duel against Obi-Wan. He took a deep breath. "Something happened to me . . . on Mustafar. I . . . I guess I had realized that if I continue to be Lord Sidious' apprentice, my life would have become even worse. So I walked away. And because of me, the galaxy is now under the rule of a Sith Lord."

"What's a Sith Lord?" Han asked.

Anakin replied, "A Jedi's enemy. The Sith use the Force for . . . well, less than pleasant reasons. For power." An unpleasant laugh escaped his mouth. "Funny. I had wanted that power to save someone I loved. Only I ended up losing that person, anyway. As for the Emperor, he no longer has an apprentice. Which is something to be thankful for."

"Why?" Han demanded.

"Because the Sith always exist in pairs. A master and an apprentice. Sidious has lost both Dooku and myself." Anakin paused before he grimly added, "Which means that he'll either try to lure me back or search for a new apprentice."

Senator Yeb's next words took Anakin by surprise. "But he already has a new apprentice. His name is Darth Rasche."

Anakin stared at Yeb in shock. "Say that again?"

The senator repeated, "The Emperor . . . or Darth Sidious, as you called him, has a new apprentice. I've seen him on Andalia. Haven't you heard about the death of Anjuli Nab? She was a Jedi Knight, such as yourself."

Anakin murmured regretfully, "I knew her."

"Well, she was killed by this new apprentice, Darth Rasche," Senator Yeb continued. "She had recognized him by his real name. Only I've forgotten it, at the moment. Apparently, he is also a former Jedi."

Darth Rasche. The news stunned Anakin beyond belief. Sidious had discovered another apprentice from the ranks of the Jedi Order? He wondered how long it had taken his former Sith master to accomplish this deed. Anakin asked for a description of the Sith apprentice.

With a shrug of his shoulders, the senator began, "He is tall. Like you. Perhaps a little taller and a little heavier. He has dark hair and . . ." A series of loud beeps from the ship's console interrupted Yeb. "What's that?"

Anakin frowned at the console. "It's the Hawk's sensor array. There's another starship nearby. Only I . . ." He broke off, as a large, triangular-shaped starship loomed above the Hawk. An Imperial warship. Anakin sighed. "I've got a very bad feeling about this."



By the time the Imperial Star Destroyer Exactor arrived at the Wookie homeworld, the Battle of Kashyyyk had begun in earnest. Grand Moff Tarkin had just arrived an hour or two earlier, on the Executrix. The two commanders met aboard the latter's ship to discuss on how to deal with the Wookies and their Jedi allies.

"If you must know, Lord Rasche," Tarkin stated, "I am not interested in the Jedi's presence on Kashyyk. I am more interested in the Wookies and how they can serve the Empire." The Eriadu native made it clear that he shared the Emperor's view on human superiority over other species and simply wanted the Wookies as slave labor for the construction of the new super weapon.

Rasche frowned. "What about the Geonosians? I thought you were using them as slave labor."

"Constructing the new weapon will take more than the Geonosians," Tarkin replied airily. "Surely you must have realized this, my lord. You've seen the weapon yourself." His eyes narrowed dangerously. "Or do you have some kind of affinity for these . . . Wookies?"

The Sith Lord seared the older man with a malevolent glare. "I do not take lightly to others making assumptions about me, Lord Tarkin. Such actions tend to bring out the less pleasant side of my nature."

The Imperial officer responded with a polite bow. "Your pardon, Lord Rasche."

Soon, commanders from other Imperial ships met with the pair and the conversation resumed to the strategy to be deployed against Kashyyyk. Both Rasche and Tarkin decided that the Sith Lord would lead a contingent of troops to hunt down the Jedi. Tarkin, on the other hand, would lead the main Imperial invasion against the planet. A few fleet commanders wanted to bombard all of Kashyyk's cities. But Rasche overruled them. Instead, he ordered a direct assault on several cities that included Kachirho, Rwookrrorro, Kepitenochan, Okikuti, and Chenachochan.

Once the conference ended, the young Sith Lord flew a Theta-class T-2c shuttle down to the city of Kachirho, accompanied by a Clone officer named Commander Appo and a squad of troops. Despite the heavy anti-fire the shuttle had encountered, it eventually Rasche and his contingent to the Wookie city. There, they learned that Imperial incursions were being repulsed by fierce Wookie opposition, resulting in the death of many troops.

"My Lord," Commander Appo commented, "perhaps you should rescind your order and allow the bombardment of the entire planet. These Wookies seemed to be resisting a lot stronger than we thought they would."

A sigh left Rasche's mouth. The wanton slaughter of a species did not particularly appeal to him, Sith Lord or not. But if the Wookies posed a threat to his ability to hunt down the Jedi, they had to be dealt with. "Perhaps you're right, Commander." Using the shuttle's communication system, he sent a message to Grand Moff Tarkin and rescinded his previous orders and ordered a new one to launch a full bombardment of all Wookie settlements on Kashyyyk.

Upon leaving the shuttle, Rasche, Appo and the squad accompanying them, reached the outskirts of Kachirho. The Sith Lord's hopes of encountering Anakin Skywalker were dashed when he found himself facing a group of Jedi, younger than himself. The leader of this group turned out to be Olee Starstone, a young padawan he had first encountered on Murkhana with Jedi Masters Bol Chatak and Roan Shryne, nearly eight months ago. Rasche managed to kill Chatak, but Starstone and Shryne managed to escape. Now, he had finally caught up with the former Jedi padawan. The Sith Lord wondered if Shryne was nearby.

“Olee Starstone,” Rasche announced with contempt dripping from his voice. “We meet again. Giving me the chance to finish what I had started on Murkhana?”

The dark-haired, blue-eyed woman spat out furiously, “Traitor! Murderer!”

“If you’re speaking of your former master,” Rasche retorted, “may I remind you that it was she who had attacked first?”

Young Starstone let out a furious cry and attacked the Sith Lord. In all honesty, Rasche did not consider her much of a challenge. But her rage managed to prevent her from being immediately killed. Rasche and Starstone exchanged a series of parries and thrusts. Before the Sith Lord could finish off his opponent, several men appeared on the scene. One of them lit up a lightsaber and decapitated Commander Appo’s head. Jedi Master Roan Shryne had arrived.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

"The Helmsman's Logs - 2374" - 1/2


SUMMARY: The fourth in a collection of Tom Paris' personal logs during Voyager's journey in the Delta Quadrant.
DISCLAIMER: Tom Paris and all other characters related to Star Trek
Voyager belong to Paramount, Viacom, Rick Berman, the Roddenberry
family and other Trek producers.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This covers episodes from "The Gift" to post-"Hope and Fear".




STARDATE 51002.61:

(Sighs) The year is now 2374. (Pauses) For once, I'm not feeling hung over after a party. I guess that none of us really had the urge to drink. Not while we were busy looking over our shoulders for the pursuing Borg or Species 8472. So far, we're still looking.

As for the party, it did not last long after the New Year had arrived. I don't mind. At least it wasn't as dismal as last year's celebration. But I must admit that talking about the Borg and Voyager's newest addition to the crew did not enliven my mood. B'Elanna had spent most of the evening discussing the Borg addition to the ship's technology. And getting into a state of anxiety over our new crewman. Many want the Borg off the ship. Frankly, I don't see the point, since she has been disconnected from the Collective. B'Elanna thinks I'm being naïve. In other words, our little disagreement over our new crew member had almost left me in a foul mood. Great! We have our first fight since the Nyrian habitat and it happens to be over a complete stranger.

Both Chakotay and the Captain had appeared at the party. They remained long enough to usher in the New Year. Since both were still anxious about the Borg, they did not remain very long and left. Separately. Hmm, I guess they haven't completely reconciled, yet. I have this odd feeling that the Borg may have damaged their relationship for good. End personal log.

STARDATE 51006.86:

It's been three days since our encounter with the Borg and Species 8472. Ship repairs have resumed with a vengeance. Everyone is still talking about our new passenger. Again, B'Elanna did not fail to express her opinion that the Captain should get rid of the ex-drone. This time, I kept my mouth shut. Who knows? She may be right. B'Elanna did tell us one bit of information. The Borg's name is Seven-of_Nine. Her human name - that's right, she's a human - is Annika. Hmmm, very pretty. End personal log.

STARDATE 51009.86:

I can't believe it. It's been five hours since she was forced to leave the ship and I still can't believe that she's gone. Kes, I mean. (Pauses) I guess I'm still having trouble comprehending the whole incident. B'Elanna believes that Kes had transformed into a powerful spirit. Well, Kes became powerful, all right. Not long after she left Voyager, she had transformed into a non-corporeal being and sent the ship some 9.5 light years closer to the Alpha Quadrant. That means in less than three years, Voyager has traveled in 12.5 light years - with 57.5 years left in our journey.

Kes had also saved us from the Borg. Our new passenger, Seven-of-Nine, tried to contact the nearest Borg cube by accessing the ship's subspace transmitter. Kes managed to telepathetically stop her in time. But not before our favorite drone gave Harry one hell of a whack.

(Sighs) Even as I now talk, I still cannot believe that Kes is gone. And to think, I had a crush on her for nearly a year. Still, she was a great friend and I'm going to miss her. I think we all will - especially the Doc, Tuvok . . . and Neelix, of course. (Pauses) Good-bye Kes. I'm going to miss you. End personal log.

STARDATE 51023.29:

Baytart, Jenkins and I were in Cargo Bay Two, searching for navigational parts, when we caught sight of our super cargo. The other two kept their distance, while lucky me had to get close to collect the parts. She was standing in her new Borg regeneration chamber, when her eyes opened and began to follow me. Creepy. But she remained silent. I bid her a quiet good-bye and left with the other two. Not much communication was achieved, but I can safely state that Second Contact between Seven-of-Nine and me proved to be a hell of a lot less painful than our first. End personal log.

STARDATE 51070.09:

B'Elanna and I were having lunch in the Mess Hall today, discussing cultural holidays. When I asked about Klingon holidays, she brought up something called Day of Honor. Apparently, it is an observance day in which Klingon warriors test their honor by enduring some kind of ritual hazing. Hmmm, sounds interesting. I had asked her when was the last time she had observed the Day of Honor and she almost laughed in my face. It seems that B'Elanna has not observed this special day since she had turned seventeen. B'Elanna doesn't realize it, but she has given me an idea for a new holoprogram. I only hope that I can talk her into participating in it. End personal log.

STARDATE 51085.73:

Voyager has finally learned of Chakotay's whereabouts - at least Tuvok has. He found Chakotay, brainwashed by the Vori and engaged in their war against the Kradin. Poor Chakotay. He's had it pretty bad since his near assimilation by those ex-Borgs, nearly five months ago. He and the Captain are still divided over Seven-of-Nine. And now this. I may not like him very much, but I cannot help but feel sorry for him. B'Elanna sees this as a sign that I am finally growing up. I ought to teach her a lesson about making such comments. End personal log.

STARDATE 51113.25:

The subject of the Day of Honor came up, again. To my surprise, it was B'Elanna who first mentioned it. Apparently, she has been thinking about her mother, lately. Eight years have passed since she had last seen Miral Torres. B'Elanna must miss her very much, which seems strange. I have never known B'Elanna to mention her mother without making some kind of complaint.

When I told her about my idea for a Day of Honor holoprogram, she decided that she wanted to help me. Great! I'm really looking forward to this. Especially if it means spending a great deal of time with B'Elanna. End personal log.

STARDATE 51162.37:

B'Elanna and I have finally completed the Day of Honor program. And just in time. Tomorrow will be her official day to commemorate. Ah! Can't wait to see how it will turn out. End personal log.

STARDATE 51170.62:

God! (Pauses) For the first time in ages, I can barely think. I'm speechless. (Pauses) And it's not the tri-ox treatment I had received. Oh God! (Sighs) I can't believe . . . Shit! I don't know who really had to endure a Day of Honor - B'Elanna or me. I guess we both did, in our own ways.

B'Elanna's Day of Honor had begun three days ago. One, the holoprogram turned out to be a bust. Not because it had not been created properly. It all went wrong, because B'Elanna was not in the mood to enjoy it. To put it simply, she was having one of "those" days. She woke up late. Didn't have time for breakfast. Nearly everything in Engineering began to malfunction. Worst of all, Seven-of-Nine finally reported for duty and her first assignment happened to be Engineering. It didn’t take long for B'Elanna to confront Seven about previous victims of the Borg. And when Seven failed to display the proper remorse, B'Elanna kicked her out of Engineering.

Yep, that's right. I had heard what happened. Let's just say that gossip and rumors tend to spread pretty fast on this ship. I love B'Elanna very much, but she does have this tendency to be a bit too judgmental about people - even without getting to know them. Hell, I had personally experienced this trait first hand, during Voyager's first year in the Delta Quadrant. And this is why when I ran into our ex-Borg on Deck Seven, I offered her my friendship. Why not? Everyone deserves a second chance.

B'Elanna wasn't the only one who didn't take for Seven's presence aboard Voyager. We had encountered a race of aliens called the Caatati. I guess one could call them the beggars of the Delta Quadrant. They had asked the Captain for food, medical supplies and thorium - namely a lot. Due to our situation, the Captain was only able to allow them so much. That would have been the end of it, except our Caatati visitor had spotted Seven with me and nearly went into a fit. His race had nearly been devastated by the Borg.

I wish I could say "thus ended a difficult day", but I can't. It only grew worse. Engineering's experiment with creating a transwarp wormhole led to the warp core being dumped. The Captain ordered us to use the Cochrane shuttle to fetch it, only the Caatati managed to get it first. B'Elanna tried to break their tractor beam. Instead, they sent an antimatter pulse to block our efforts. Not only did they succeed, they also caused the destruction of the Cochrane, leaving B'Elanna and myself wearing AVS suits and stranded in space.

(Sighs) Until the day I die, I do not think I will ever forget those moments drifting in space. That and Sakari IV. After B'Elanna and I found ourselves drifting in space, an ionic shower damaged my AVS suit's supply of oxygen and I ended up sharing B'Elanna's supply. But the ionic shower had also damaged her suit, leaving a half hour of oxygen between the two of us. We flirted a bit. Okay, I flirted with B'Elanna. We talked about the Academy and then it got serious - all because I wanted to know if her feelings toward me had changed over the years. Not only did B'Elanna answered yes, she also revealed a lot more. She told me (Pauses) . . . she confessed to being in love with me.

(Laughs bitterly) Strange. I had no trouble admitting that I was in love with B'Elanna some eight months ago . . . to myself. But when she demanded that I say something after her confession, I responded with a joke, instead. (Sighs) How lame! I wanted to admit that I was in love with her, but I was too floored by her confession. Also, Voyager had chosen that moment to contact us. It's odd. One minute, I'm floating in space, stunned by B'Elanna's confession and everything goes black. The next thing I knew, I'm waking up in Sick Bay, with the Doc's face hovering over mine. B'Elanna had already returned to her quarters. I wanted to pay her a visit before returning to my quarters, but I lost my nerve. I don't know. I'm thrilled that B'Elanna might possibly love me. But how can she be in love with a guy who lacked the courage to express his own feelings? Even worse, how long will that love last when she finally becomes acquainted with the real Tom Paris? End personal log.

STARDATE 51179.25:

The Captain made a little announcement during the Senior Staff meeting, today. She has promoted Tuvok to Lieutenant Commander. A celebration dinner will be held in his honor, tomorrow. Considering how long Tuvok has been in Starfleet, I'm surprised that he has not reached the rank of Captain or Admiral, by now. Still, I'm happy for him.

After seeing her at the staff meeting, I ran into B'Elanna outside the Mess Hall, later this evening. She took one look at me and fled down the corridor. Frankly, I don't blame her. She had admitted her feelings to me . . . and I made a joke. I wouldn't be surprised if she never wants to lay eyes upon me, again. End personal log.

STARDATE 51182.25:

I really don't know how to begin. It's been quite a day. Tuvok is now a lieutenant-commander. I'm the Doctor's new medical assistant. And B'Elanna and I . . . well, we had spoken with each other for the first time in three days.

It happened right after Tuvok's promotion luncheon. I followed her out of the Mess Hall. Asked her if she really meant what she had said about being in love with me. I don't know why I had asked. I guess that a part of me wanted to know if I had heard right. That B'Elanna's confession had not been a figment of my imagination, caused by a lack of oxygen. But it wasn't. B'Elanna confirmed my . . . my what? My fears? My hopes? Maybe a little of both.

After B'Elanna had admitted her love for me . . . for the second time . . . she rambled on about how she understood if I didn't reciprocate her feelings. Well, I had to shut her up one way or the other. If she had continued any longer, she would have convinced herself that I didn't love her. So, I kissed her. Thoroughly, I hoped. I must say that her lips were as soft and warm as I had remembered from Sakari IV. And I would have kissed her even longer, if the Doctor had not interrupted us. Not that the Doc's interruption really mattered. Even though I didn't actually say, "I love you," I think that B'Elanna got the message on how I really felt about her. Hopefully, this means that my hope for a relationship will finally become a reality. End personal log.

STARDATE 51184.55:

Just finished my first day as the Doc's medical assistant. Since he has been on an Away mission with B'Elanna, I was left in charge of Sick Bay.

Nothing much happened. I treated an indigested stomach and a lacerated hand. The last belonged to Seven-of-Nine, who had been assigned to work with Harry on design enhancements for the Astrometrics Lab. While treating her hand, I made a few jokes to put her at ease. Seven didn't seem to mind them, but Harry practically went ballistic. Hmmmm, I haven't seen Ensign Eager this emotional since he fell for that hologram, last year. Or was it Lyndsay Ballard? I don't remember. Anyway, I tried to warn him that Seven wasn't emotionally ready for a relationship. But knowing Harry, I'm sure that he didn't listen. Oh well. At least he didn't go running to Tuvok for advice. End personal log.

STARDATE 51187.65:

(Sighs) B'Elanna had returned with Doc from their Away mission, a few hours ago. They had an encounter with a psychotic hologram, who tried to kill B'Elanna by ripping her heart out. God! She managed to destroy him before he could damage her heart permanently. Also, she and the Doc returned to Voyager just in time for him to perform surgery. So, B'Elanna left the Sick Bay with a clean bill of health . . . and just in time for our first date, tonight. Our first real date.

(Pauses and listens to B'Elanna mumble in her sleep) I must admit that I had felt very nervous when I showed up at her quarters. We had a nice dinner - replicated Ktarian soufflé, a pasta salad and a nice 2294 Merlot. Mind you (pauses as B'Elanna mumbles again) the meal as nice, but all I could think about was that cute little maroon dress she wore. And taking it off.

Okay, so I sound like some kind of sex fiend. But B'Elanna . . . God! She looked so beautiful and irresistible! (Sighs) We were a bit shy at first, but the moment our lips met . . . oh God, I'm beginning to sound like a bad romance holonovel. Let's just say that I forgot about any shyness on my part. For a moment, I had feared I was being just a little too enthusiastic. But B'Elanna brushed away such fears when she began ripping off my clothes. (Sighs happily) This might be a personal log, but I'm sure that someone will end up listening to this some day in the future. So, I'll just say that a Klingon woman's reputation for sexual prowess is very well deserved; and sleeping with B'Elanna was more than great sex. It was . . . okay, I think I'm about to sound like a cliché. Sleeping with B'Elanna was like a meeting between two souls; and I never want to be . . .

(B'Elanna mumbles a little louder, "Tom?")

B'Elanna! I'll be with in a . . . Hey! B'Elanna! That tickles! B'Elanna!

(B'Elanna: "Hey Helmboy! Aren't you going to finish that log or what?")

Right. And last but not least, I never want to be apart from her again. Ever.

(B'Elanna: "Hmmm, how romantic. Now why don't you show me what never being apart means?")

Be careful of what you wish for, Lieuten . . . Oooof! End personal log.

STARDATE 51195.59:

I wonder if Starfleet Academy ever considered giving courses on diplomatic encounters gone awry, thanks to former Borg drones. (Sighs) Our encounter with the B'omar was certainly one for the books. We had come across their space and needed their permission to avoid a long detour. To be honest, the B'omar didn't help matters by imposing all of those travel restrictions upon us. Travel at Warp 3? Keep our weapons off-line? And that ridiculous course they had suggested!

Of course, Seven's actions didn't help. Some Borg signal had reactivated her nanoprobes, causing her to go amok. She attacked Neelix in the Mess Hal, stole a phaser, attacked several Security crewmen and stole one of the shuttles. Damaging the Shuttle Bay, in the process. After Seven's escape, the B'omar wanted nothing to do with us. Matters grew worse after Tuvok and I went after her in another shuttle and tracked her to a Class-M moon - the very place where her parents' ship had crashed, before they were all assimilated by the Borg.

Voyager exchanged fire with a few B'omar ships, while I tried to beam Seven and Tuvok to the shuttle. But not before Tuvok helped Seven deal with her memories of being assimilated. Let's just say that the entire incident resulted in Voyager making a long detour around B'omar space. End personal log.

STARDATE 51204.1:

Don't get me wrong. I love B'Elanna with ever fiber of my being, but there are times when she simply drives me crazy. And I'm not being complimentary. It's been three days since the incident with Seven and the B'omar and B'Elanna has not stopped bitching about it. Okay, I understand why she's pissed for having to oversee the repairs in the Shuttle Bay. But God! I've had to listen to B'Elanna bitch and moan for hours over Seven's actions and the Captain's refusal to dump our favorite Borg on the nearest M-class planet. Both Harry and I tried to make B'Elanna see that Seven had been reliving a childhood trauma. But she has refused to listen. This morning had been the last straw.

After one last rant about the Captain's "obsession with the Borg", I lost my temper and told her that her complaints were becoming a bore and that she should give them a rest. I must say that I was damn lucky to avoid a public beating at the hands of a pissed half-Klingon. Instead, B'Elanna gave me a death glare that rivaled the Captain's' and stormed out of the Mess Hall. I've tried to apologize since, but she refuses to speak to me. (Sighs) I think a little trip to the Airpondics Bay is in order. End personal log.

STARDATE 51207.06:

Ah! There's nothing in the Universe like fine food, wine and make-up sex. All due to a dozen of red roses from the Airpondics Bay. A fellow could get used to this. End personal log.

STARDATE 51230.8:

Strange energy readings were detected by Harry this morning, and now Voyager is on its way to investigate. It is a good thing that we are about three days away. This should give the Captain plenty of time to recover from the headaches that have been plaguing her, lately. If I were her, I would spend those three days in my quarters. She practically looks like death warmed over. Doc has tried relieving her headaches with various medications, but nothing seems to help. Oh well.

Meanwhile, B'Elanna and I have been . . . well, a little more than enthusiastic during our off-duty hours, lately. Actually, we've been pretty active during duty hours, as well. Neelix and Pablo Baytart nearly caught us having sex in the Mess Hall, early this morning. I don't know what's going on, but every time I find myself near B'Elanna, I have this urge to rip her clothes off and take her right there on the spot. (Pauses) Okay, I'm really starting to sound like some kind of sex fiend. But I can't help it. Every time we're apart, all I can think about is her. Her sable eyes, that sexy growl of hers, her pert breasts, and the way her nails would rake up and down my back when we're . . . (Sighs) Great! Now, I'm in dire need of a cold shower. End personal log.

STARDATE 51235.84:

Thanks to a double shift I had been forced to work, I missed out on a date with B'Elanna. Damn! I don't even know what is worse - canceling the date with B'Elanna or dealing with this sexual obsession of mine. (Sighs) Since I can't do anything about the former, I might as well see to the latter. There hasn't been much activity in Sick Bay, lately. Maybe I can find a way to spend some time with her. That is, if the Doc can spare me for one lousy shift. End personal log.

STARDATE 51239.04:

B'Elanna and I had just spent an embarrassing moment with the Captain, today. Just before dinner, last night, Tuvok had caught us . . . uh, kissing on one of the computer consoles in Engineering. The snitch! He must have high-tailed it back to the Captain, for she really chewed us out, after the Senior Staff meeting. Whew! Guess we'll have to a little more discreet from now on. Meanwhile, poor Neelix had some kind of attack in the Galley and had to be beamed to Sick Bay. Chakotay is already there, due to some kind of rapid ageing he has experienced. What the hell is going on, here?

One last thing - the strange energy readings that Harry had detected, turned out to be binary pulsars. End personal log.

STARDATE 51244.36:

For the past two weeks, a race of aliens have been using Voyager as a traveling laboratory for a series of experiments. These aliens - whose name we still don't know - had attached their ships to ours and subjected the crew to a series of medical tests. They did all of this, while walking about the ship . . . invisible. Tests that monitored our dopamine levels - which explained the Captain's headaches - to sexual hormone levels. Now I know why B'Elanna and I have been at each other like dogs in heat. Those bastards also stopped the auoeli in B'Elanna's lungs from processing air and nearly killed her. This happened after she and the Doc nearly discovered what was going on. In the end, it was Seven who finally revealed the aliens. Needless to say, the Captain did not take the news very well. Especially after Crewman Huberman died from a synaptic shock. I wish I had been on the Bridge when she steered the ship toward the binary pulsars. According to Harry, the pulsars' gravity managed to destroy both alien ships - although one nearly escaped. Although Voyager had escaped destruction, the pulsars had damaged both navigational control and some of the ship's hull plating. The Doctor and I have begun removing the DNA markings given to us by the aliens. Everything should return to normal. Somewhat. There is still the matter of Crewman Huberman. End personal log.

STARDATE 51244.36:

A memorial service for Huberman was held this morning. A dark moment for an otherwise normal day. At least normal for us. The aliens' DNA markings have been completely removed from the entire crew. B'Elanna, I'm happy to say, has fully recovered. We decided to celebrate with a private dinner in my quarters. I thought that a pasta salad with Ktarian Merlot would be nice. She should be here in another . . . (the doorbell chimes) Oh, she's here. End personal log.

STARDATE 51255.55:

With the new Astrometrics Lab completed, the Captain has permitted the crew to celebrate with a party. Which means that I've got at least a half hour to shower, change into clean clothes and pick up B'Elanna. The party will be held in the Resort holoprogram in Holodeck One. Neelix will provide the refreshments, as usual. (Sighs) Oh well, not everything can be perfect.

Voyager also entered Krenim space, this morning. A Krenim starship captain warned us that his race was involved in a border dispute with another. He warned us to avoid Krenim space. Happily, the Captain agreed and ordered me to plot a new course for the Alpha Quadrant. End personal log.

STARDATE 51261.03:

Our encounter in Krenim space had led me to thinking about Kes. It has been three months, since she left Voyager. I could not help but think about the alternate timeline she had experienced before our encounter with the Borg and Species 8472. A timeline that had us at war with the Krenim for at least a year. The Year of Hell. According to Kes, a good number of the crew had been killed - including two senior staff members, whose names Kes had never revealed. I'm almost tempted to access her personal logs, but that would be a shabby way to honor Kes' memory. I guess the details of her experiences in the alternate timeline will remain a mystery. Too bad. End personal log.

STARDATE 51362.25:

Voyager came across a new planet called the Mari homeworld. The Mari are a race of telepaths who are technically advanced - at least by Starfleet standards. This means that we don't have to worry about the almighty Prime Directive. Since the Captain has been able to establish diplomatic ties, she ordered me to establish orbit around the planet. And the crew will be able to enjoy shore leave for the next few days. Hopefully, B'Elanna and I will get to enjoy a few hours of sightseeing, together. End personal log.

STARDATE 51369.25:

I can't believe it! B'Elanna has been arrested by the Mari authorities for having violent thoughts! Violent thoughts? What the hell is this? They've got to be kidding! Then again, I guess not. It seems the Mari people have outlawed violent thoughts, believing the latter can lead to violent acts. While in the marketplace of the Mari capital city, B'Elanna had violent thoughts when some man had bumped into her. This led the man to beat another Mari citizen to death in full view of everyone. If found guilty, B'Elanna will have to undergo an engramatic purge.

Great! My girlfriend is in danger of being lobotomized! I asked the Captain if she plans to rescue B'Elanna. Unfortunately, she reminded me that according to Starfleet protocol, we have to respect Mari laws. The Captain also added that she and Tuvok will investigate and ensure that B'Elanna is exonerated. Sounds lovely, but what if they can't exonerate her? She would still have to undergo the purge. The Doc told me that hopefully, he would be able to reconstruct her engrams. This is supposed to reassure me?

I can't believe that the Captain is willing to allow B'Elanna to undergo such a thing. I mean, if she was willing to rescue Harry and me from the Atkirian prison, why not do the same for B'Elanna? (Sighs) This is fucked up beyond belief! And to think I had purchased a gift for her. Now, I don't know if B'Elanna will ever get the chance to enjoy it. I wonder if Chakotay would consider planning a jailbreak. End personal log.

STARDATE 51374.11

B'Elanna is back, I'm happy to say. Thank God for Tuvok! He found out that a Mari merchant had deliberately provoked B'Elanna into a violent thought, in order to steal it telepathetically and sell it on the black market. Very sick, in my opinion. So much for Mari non-violence. The Mari had managed to erase one-tenth of B'Elanna's violent engrams, before Tuvok and the Captain presented them with the real perpetrator.

B'Elanna told me that Tuvok finally appreciates the struggle she had endured with her violent Klingon psyche. Geez! I like Tuvok, but did he really had to associate her temper with her Klingon side? Now, B'Elanna is more determined than ever to control her thoughts. (Sighs) I told her that she should worry more about her actions than her thoughts. I also reminded her that Klingons weren't the only species that had to struggle with violent impulses. But I got the feeling that she didn't believe me. Damn! Hopefully, she will. One day. End personal log.

STARDATE 51449.44

Is it me or has Neelix been acting odd, lately? He must have been more upset over that Mari woman's death than I had first imagined. In fact, he has seemed a little out of sync, ever since Kes' departure. I had hoped that his friendship with Talli on the Mari homeworld would improve his mood. Unfortunately, Talli was killed and Neelix's dark mood returned. Maybe this upcoming Away mission with Chakotay and me will help. End personal log.


Christ! I can't believe it! Neelix is gone! Dead! And all because of a simple mission to investigate a proto matter nebula. The shuttle got a little too close to the nebula, and Neelix was hit by an energy discharge. I just can't . . . I never realized how difficult it would be for me to deal with his death. It's funny. I'm closer to B'Elanna and Harry, but Neelix was the only person on this ship who understood what it meant to live with a questionable past. And to whom else can I talk with, about flying? Hell, I found it easier to talk with Neelix than the other pilots in my division. If only I hadn't flown that damn shuttle so close! End personal log.

STARDATE 51456.14:

I thought that being resurrected by Seven's modified nanoprobes and celebrating Prixin would put Neelix in a good mood. Apparently, it didn't. He tried . . . to commit suicide by transporting himself into that nebula. God! I wonder what Chakotay had said to convince him not to kill himself.

Speaking of Chakotay, he has assigned B'Elanna to the Gamma shift for the next two weeks. Son-of-a-bitch! This means, we'll barely have time together. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that Chakotay had deliberately planned this to keep us apart. (Sighs) But I do know him better. He may not have been thrilled about our new relationship, but he's not petty. But if one must suffer in the name of love . . . End personal log.

STARDATE 51460.79:

I wish to God that Seven had never detected that damn array system. Now that I think about it, I wish the Captain had never ordered the Astrometrics Lab to be remodeled in the first place. But since we did stumble across the array system, Seven was able to detect that Starfleet vessel in the Alpha Quadrant. Probably some Galaxy-class ship on a deep space mission.

At first, the Captain tried to send a message to the ship, using the array. When that failed, B'Elanna came up with the brilliant idea of sending a holographic message. Namely the Doctor. And guess who will be left to act as Acting Chief Medical Officer? (Sighs) Chief Medical Officer. Dammit! I'm a pilot, not a medic! Why in the hell didn't the Doctor train someone from the Science Division to train as his assistant? Someone like Sam Wildman? What if the Doc never return from the Alpha Quadrant? What if his program gets lost in the signal between us and Starfleet?

I have to do something about this. (Pauses) Hmmm, since B'Elanna is still monitoring the array, perhaps Harry can help. I may know a lot about holoprogramming, but when it comes to creating a program as complex as the EMH, I'm going to need an engineer. End personal log.